The end of summer is here (we know, sorry) and that means a change in routine for many of us as the kids head back to school. By now you’ve probably received classroom supply lists, registered for extracurricular activities, and taken stock of your kid’s closets to determine what they’ve outgrown over the summer (the answer: everything).
You may have planned outfits for the first day of school and pinned 30-minute or less meal ideas for those crazy evenings (or just put the local pizza place on speed dial), but have you thought about the daily after-school routine once everything really gets in full swing? Having a space where the kids and adults can do homework, catch up on emails, and decompress together at the end of a busy day can help to make the difference between frantic evenings and peaceful ones.
Many homes today have a dedicated home office area for computers, books, and supplies. It makes sense to take stock of this area and see how it works for your family at your own personal stage of life. Is there space for everyone to sit? Is there enough storage? How accessible are the craft supplies? Below we’ve listed some ways to make your home office area family-friendly, especially during this transitional time of year. These tips can work even without a specific home office space – take a peek at your kitchen, dining, or living room space to see how these ideas can be incorporated into your own homework station, wherever that might be.
By the time kids hit middle and high school, technology is a crucial tool for schoolwork. Having a space where everyone can work side-by-side is helpful. For one thing, it’s easier to help out and answer questions if everyone is together instead of separated in their own private bedrooms. A space where everyone can work out in the open is also important for internet safety, especially as teens spend more and more time on their computers.
A large, flat surface is crucial for working on large school projects or for families with multiple children. Think of the space that’s taken up by a single person when they have a textbook, a notebook or two, and a laptop all spread out before them. Add in a project with poster board and even a single child will take up several square feet of space. While individual desks can be nice, a smooth dining table is the perfect space for multiple people to spread out at once. Consider adding a large table in your own office area or somewhere else in your house. Bonus: it frees up the actual dining room table for, y’know, dinnertime.
Just like cubbies work well in the mudroom to separate out whose shoes or winter hats are whose, creating small cubby-like areas in the home office can help keep everyone’s items separate and organized. It doesn’t have to be anything major: some simple wall shelving can help corral each kid’s papers, assignments, and special pens to keep them separate from their siblings. Even something as simple as a bookshelf with a separate shelf for each kid to store their textbooks, library books, and supplies can help everyone know where their own things are – and help to prevent fights.
Maybe you have young kids who aren’t in school yet but love to be around their older siblings. Or maybe you have kids who need to take a break during homework time. Having a few quiet toys or a small play area can help kids re-set their brains before diving back into their school work. Things like a chalkboard or white board where they can doodle, a playmat with some cars, a bin with blocks or LEGOs, or a shelf with some books or stuffed animals can help keep little ones occupied and provide a creative outlet for bigger ones.
A dedicated supply area in a spot where kids can reach is crucial for homework time. Pens, pencils, markers, scissors, and other high-use materials can go on the desk top in their own containers. Other materials, like construction paper, glue, and other specialty art supplies can have their own dedicated art drawer. If you don’t have the space, or if your home office area is really just your dining room, try a rolling cart. It can be pulled out for homework time and just as easily rolled away to store in a nearby closet or against the wall when not in use.
Have a home office space ready for its own family-friendly remodel? Contact Bella Domicile to meet with one of our talented designers today! Call (608) 271-8241 or fill out an appointment request form here.